To identify deer damage, look closely at affected plants. Deer don't have upper front teeth, so when they eat, they tear plant tissue rather than cutting it, leaving ragged edges. Deer prefer tender new growth when it's available, but eat buds and twigs in winter. They tend to feed on the edges of wooded areas so that they can duck for cover if threatened.
Deer can reach as high as 6 feet, so if you see damage at eye level, you're probably dealing with a deer, not a mutant rabbit. Look for telltale hoofprints and piles of deer scat (usually rounded pellets with a dimple on one end, about the size and shape of a chocolate-covered peanut or small black olive). Deer are most likely to visit gardens when other food sources are scarce, especially in late winter and early spring.
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